Saturday, October 31, 2009

Let's go to the videotape

With 33 seconds on the clock and one time out at the Rutgers 19 after the Connecticut Huskies had just taken the lead for the first time in the game with less than a minute left, this happened. I "watched" the game on the radio, so I'm glad to see the video, and I'm sure you will be glad to see it too, even if you already saw it happen live.
I found it on Bleed Scarlet, but I'm sure that all Rutgers fans and bloggers will just want to see this touchdown getting the widest circulation possible (until it disappears from YouTube's server):

6-2 (1-2). What a Game.

Those last few minutes of today's 28-24 win over Connecticut have to have been some of the most nerve-wracking I've ever spent as a fan of Rutgers football (or of any sports team). I was watching on the radio, and in the fourth quarter I started commenting on Twitter by writing, "I wasn't nervous about typing #BeatUConn all day yesterday, so why am I nervous about it now with Rutgers having an 11-point lead in the 4th?".

Here are the last few minutes and last two touchdowns of the game as I typed them on Twitter:
UConn 1st and goal. Fuck. Come on defense! That missed two-point conversion of UConn's looks major now. #BEATUCONNCOME ON DEFENSE! #BEATUCONN
4th Down & Goal. ONE MORE STOP!
fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck now we need mccourty to end the game the way he started it. #BeatUConn33 seconds and a time out. Let's go Offense. #BeatUConnTIMMMY TIMMY TIMMY TIMMY TIMMY TIMMY TIMMY
FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!
For that to have been done by Jasper Howard's friend is just awesome. This is the kind of game that turns around a season.

Although, 22 seconds left is a lifetime in this game. come on defense. Just one more stop. #BeatUConn
"I'm rarely speechless, but I think right now I am." Ray Lucas
8 seconds left. Come on Defense.
The "Let's Go Rutgers" chant is loud on the radio. 3 seconds left with that last incompletion. #BeatUConn

That's the win. This is Tom Savage's coming out party.
That was one of the most nerve-wracking two minutes of my life.
If someone had to #BeatUConn today, I'm glad it was Jasper Howard's friend. Tim Brown sounded very emotional in the short postgame chat.
I hope lots of former Knights were watching the new Knights #BeatUConn. RT @CGreene36 Yes Tim Brown... 80yd Td Catch To Win Da Game.b
I have nothing else to add right now about a game that's going to be written about widely, not just during the coming week, but for years. The story of Jasper Howard and Tim Brown's friendship has all the makings of a television movie. You wouldn't believe it if it weren't true.

West Virginia and Virginia Tech have already lost this weekend. How many more top 25 teams will have to lose before I consider putting the 6-2 Scarlet Knights onto my BlogPoll ballot?

The New Look

This morning I fooled around and did my first redesign of the Beat Visitor dot com header since February 2007, using this team photo from the 2008 Scarlet-White Game as a background.
I hope it greatly increases your browsing pleasure as you spend a few seconds here on your way to the site that you were actually looking for.
Update at 5pm on Halloween:
If Rutgers had lost today's game to the Connecticut Huskies I would have dropped the new design immediately as a jinx. Now, of course, I am (and you are) stuck with it forever. It's obviously a good-luck charm.

Friday, October 30, 2009

#BeatUConn is just a warmup for the big game on November 21

#BeatUConn is gaining some traction as a hashtag at Twitter today (and if you are on Twitter and use #BeatUConn in your tweets today or tomorrow, @BeatVisitor will start following you -- yes, it's come to bribery), but there aren't a lot of #BeatRutgers responses from UConners.

Orange Tweeps are already looking forward to taunting Rutgers on 11/21.

That will change as November 21 approaches and the game with the Syracuse Orange Tweeps begins. Say what you want about their football prowess (and I'll expect you to in the third week of November), but there is no doubt that Syracuse currently rules the world of Big East Twitter taunting. Check the #BeatCincy hashtag today to see how it's done -- quantity and humor are both very important. We've got some work to do people, so let's practice by beating up on UConn today and tomorrow (online and on the field).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Don't Take any Wooden Nutmeg!, and #BeatUConn

I always knew that Connecticut was "The Nutmeg State" but I never knew why a state in the Northeastern US took the name of a spice that was only grown in the Spice Islands of Indonesia. I thought it must have something to do with trade. I didn't know it had to do with fraud. The following paragraph comes from Wikipedia (so it's got to be true):

Connecticut gets its nickname ("the Nutmeg State", "Nutmegger") from the legend that some unscrupulous Connecticut traders would whittle "nutmeg" out of wood, creating a "wooden nutmeg" (a term which came to mean any fraud). [2]

But even though their state nickname may brand them as fraudsters, Connecticut's leading industry in the 21st Century is the almost-fraud-free industry of insurance, everybody's favorite. Still, it's the duty of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to beat the University of Connecticut on the football gridiron on Saturday afternoon, and it's your duty to spread the #BeatUConn gospel on Twitter until then.

And if you're going to the game at Rentschler Field, remember: Don't take any wooden nutmeg.

And watch out for "fair catch" signals from "nutmeggers".

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Constitutes "Success" for the 2009 Scarlet Knights?

At this point in 2008 the Rutgers Scarlet Knights with current NFL'ers Mike Teel, Tiquan Underwood, Jamaal Westerman, and Kenny Britt were 2-5 and looking like they could end up well below .500. As Mike Teel's interceptions magically became touchdowns, the team showed its ability to end the season with offensive records shattering in almost every game; seven straight wins erased most of the bad taste left by the five early season losses for most the the Scarlet faithful.
This year's Scarlet Knights, after losing their all-time leading passer and all-time leading receiver to the pros, and with true freshmen Tom Savage and Mohamed Sanu leading the charge, are 5-2 with five conference games to go and with both losses being to teams that are now in the top 15 of the BCS rankings. Yet some "fans" are acting as if the Knights' golden years are behind them and that this season is somehow over.
  • How do you feel the young Knights are going to come together in this second half of the 2009 season?
  • Vote in the new sidebar poll. Will the Knights have five conference wins after December 5th's game? Three? None??
  • How many victories constitutes "success" for these young Knights?
  • If the season ends with only one more victory, but that victory is against the Mountaineers, will that be enough comfort to take into the off season?
Speaking of the Mountaineers, even they have problems with their "fans."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Going Beyond "Huck the Fuskies!"

Check out Bleed Scarlet's UConn Q&A this morning for an analysis of the upcoming Halloween game up in Connecticut that actually looks beyond #BeatUConn tags on Twitter and making fun of a mascot who would have been more at home in the Yukon than at UConn (get it? their mascot's based on a juvenile joke.)

Also, be sure to look for the other side of this serious football conversation, the follow-up Rutgers Q&A at The UConn Blog, which should be appearing soon.

Meanwhile, while the big boys are discussing actual football facts and prognostications, we're left with silly anagrams: UConn Huskies = Kiss No Eunuch and Connecticut Huskies = Chicken Scouts Unite or Hectic Sunken Coitus or Chicken Coitus Tunes. Have you got better ones?

Oh, and Huck the Fuskies!

Update at 7:00pm on 27 Oct:
The follow-up Q&A with Jon of Bleed Scarlet is now appearing on The UConn Blog.
Who knew he was that Jon? And I thought all of his football expertise and fandom went into the Philadelphia Soul.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The BlogPoll Ballot of Beat Visitor dot com is presented for your admiration

It was another week in which the seven unbeaten remained unbeaten and there was very little red ink on my notes about the week in NCAA football. So there was relatively little movement on my BlogPoll ballot (I'll get one of those Mr. Stubborn or Mr. Numb Existence trophies one of these days).
As always, you can check out my notes by clicking on the thumbnail to the right. And again, you're invited to add your criticisms and accolades in the Comments section below before these ballots need to be finalized on Wednesday morning. From the fact that even unmediated anonymous abuse is accepted here at Beat Visitor dot com, I have to assume from the lack of comments to my earlier ballots that my 2009 college football acumen has been perfect.
Here's another example of perfection for you to admire:
1 Alabama
2 Florida
3 Texas
4 Cincinnati
5 Iowa
6 Southern Cal
7 TCU 3
8 Boise State 1
10 Oregon 1
11 Georgia Tech 1
12 Pittsburgh 4
13 Penn State
14 Virginia Tech 1
15 Ohio State 2
16 Houston 2
17 Oklahoma State 2
18 Arizona
19 Miami (Florida) 11
20 Utah 3
21 West Virginia 3
22 California
23 South Carolina 2
24 Central Michigan
25 South Florida 4
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Brigham Young (#14), Kansas (#20), Texas Tech (#22).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't Forget Me

I'd love to be there at West Point to see the game tonight; for those of you who are going, have a great time watching the Scarlet Knights dismembering the Black Knights again (if for some strange reason you haven't seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, be sure to watch the clip below) and leveling the all-time record between the long-time rivals at 18-18.

I won't be able to see the game on television tonight, and after I send this last missive into the electronic ether cloud, I won't even be touching a computer for another few days. Don't forget that exists while I'm observing radio silence. It's amazing how quickly blog traffic drops off when you shut your mouth for a couple of days.

Beat Army!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1.08695% -- I'll try not to let the power go to my head

The Week 7 BlogPoll is up at, and with only 92 blogs voting this week, that gave my ballot a more than 1% say in the final outcome. I'll try to use my awesome powers for good rather than evil.
I'd like to think that I had a hand in making sure that four Big East teams are in the top 25 (though that will be hard to maintain next week, because either USF or Pittsburgh is assured another loss).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Quote of the Day comes from Chuck Klosterman

"I don't know what I see when I watch football. It must be something insane, because I should not enjoy it as much as I do. I must be seeing something so personal and so universal that understanding this question would tell me everything I need to know about who I am, and maybe I don't want that to happen. But perhaps it's simply this: Football allows the intellectual part of my brain to evolve, but it allows the emotional part to remain unchanged. It has a liberal cerebellum and a reactionary heart. And this is all I want from everything, all the time, always."
It's something I've wondered about myself, how a guy who gave himself the nom de blog of True Blue Liberal could find almost all of his blogging time devoted to his beloved Scarlet Knights once the Bushes and Cheneys finally removed their claws from the levers of world power. There seemed to be a disconnect between the athletic and political topics.
I was not a big football fan in college at the end of the Nixon years. Chuck Klosterman even addresses that in this great book excerpt of his, how Nixon was the nation's number one football fan, poisoning the well for many of us. I knew a couple of great football players in my high school who quit the sport rather than cut their hair for a coach with neo-fascist leanings (it seems that all the lesser coaches of those years modeled themselves on Woody Hayes).
Klosterman's essay addresses the revolutionary character of football and how the game reinvents itself on regular basis while maintaining a much more reactionary veneer. It is definitely worth reading in full for his recap of pivotal coaching and strategy changes.
Specifically as a Rutgers football fan it will make you look at the Jabu package and the Wild Knight in a new light, and wish for the occasional play that will make the fans around you in the Stadium grumble, "What the fuck are those idiots doing now??" The article made me desire the shock of the new. It's generally when the fans are grumbling that the important changes in the game are taking place.

If only it WERE true . . . The Quote of the Day about Tim Brown's prowess.

I'm sure it will be corrected at some point today so I made sure to grab the part of the screen on which it appeared in Brian Bennett's midseason review of Rutgers published on at 1:35 this afternoon.

Offensive MVP: Tim Brown. The lone returning veteran receiver has been terrific in his new role as a No. 1 guy. He has 28 catches for 548 yards and three scores, averaging 196 yards per reception.

Almost two touchdowns per reception? Why are we even trying to run any play other than Savage to Brown? Even so, 19.6 yards per reception isn't bad either.
On a more serious note, Aditi Kinkhabwala has an article on about the close friendship between Tim Brown and Antonio Lowery of Rutgers with the late Jasper Howard of UConn. They knew each other from Miami.

Another Candidate to Run the Wild Knight

Before he was moved from Quarterback to Tight End back in August, #10 D.C. Jefferson was given a number of snaps lining up behind team captain Ryan Blaszczyk. The following short video that I took at the Scarlet-White Game at Rutgers Stadium on April 18, 2009 is my visual evidence supporting number 10 as a candidate to run the Wild Knight at some point this year. Though I won't be able to see the game, I'd love to hear that he tried it at least once against the Black Knights this Friday at West Point.

With Mohamed Sanu, D.C. Jefferson, and Jabu Lovelace all having the ability to run the Wild Knight and experience as passers, there should be a lot of ways that we can keep defenses off balance for the rest of the year. With Jefferson, Savage, and Sanu all being so young, and with Sanu and Jefferson both playing totally new positions this year, even if it doesn't all gel in 2009, the possibilities for 2010 and 2011 seem awesome.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More on this Friday's Coming Tournament

There's a great breakdown of what the Black Knights of Army need to do to beat the Scarlet Knights on the gridiron Friday night over at The Unbalanced Line,
an independent Army football blog.
After the venom poured on Rutgers' football team by some Rutgers "fans" after the Pittsburgh loss, it's interesting to see T.U.L. referring to the "Hollywood glitz and Big East swagger" of Rutgers. This year Rutgers will not be taking a victory over Army for granted and it should be a better game than it was the last time our red knights visited West Point and Jabu Lovelace and Ray Rice ran wild over the wet field (I still have a chill in the marrow of my bones from the cold wet sleet and snow that pelted us that night in the upper deck of Michie Stadium -- it was too cold and wet to sit; we stood through the whole game, but at least we had multiple opportunities to scream the Upstream Red Team chant). I'd love to visit West Point again, but I'm going to be away this weekend. It's a trip I'd recommend to any Scarlet Knight fan (or any football or history fan); if you don't have plans for Friday night, consider a trip up the Hudson, especially since the Rutgers-Army rivalry will soon be moving to bigger and less interesting venues in the Meadowlands and the Bronx.
Beat Army.

Just Shut Up Already! The Quotes of the Day for Pitt Week.

"schiano is an idiot...I hope you are gone soon and Rutgers can save 2 million dollars a year from your salary." "...lets let Tom Savage throw the ball all over the field for interceptions and overthrows. The kid is not ready to play Big East football and the only thing that is saving his butt right now is that interception on the last drive being dropped." "Schiano better do something. The ticker is running! New Jersey wants a Big East Champion! ... Mulchahy is gone! gotta give us a winning year!" "Schiano is a stubborn donkey, he will never admit when he is wrong, and he is clearly wrong not to play Williams. Our o-line is not playing well and a back like martinek with no lateral quickness is not going to succeed. This line cannot open up holes, we need a back with speed and cut-back ability. It seems so obvious. Yet we keep trotting out our glorified fullback and hope we can run straight ahead. Pathetic play calling, the co-coordinators is a joke." "Don't play your fastest running back coach, good idea. Does anyone know how to start a real petition to FIRE GREG SCHIANO!! 9 YEARS IT THE LONGEST TENURE COACH IN THE BIG EAST AND EVERY OTHER SCHOOL EXCEPT S. FLORIDA HAS WON A BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP. TIME TO GO GREG" --actual quotes from random idiots who commented on just one Star-Ledger article yesterday

When Saturday Night Live did skits with Bob and Wendy Whiner, did anyone doubt for a second that the Whiners were from some bedroom community in North Jersey? I've learned to ignore the Whiners and continue reading my book as they blame the conductor on NJ Transit for an Amtrak power or switch failure, or the weather. I was hoping I could ignore all this negative chatter on the internet the way I try to ignore all the frustrated head coaches sitting around me in the stands every week, but this has now reached a fevered pitch, and we've only lost twice -- to two ranked teams.

Did it ever occur to any of these Whiners that these are college kids playing a game? A game in which the ball takes funny bounces and luck takes more than a minor role every week? Bill Stull threw at least two third-down passes up for grabs on Friday night when he was in the grasp of the defense that could easily have been intercepted and returned for touchdowns by the Scarlet Knights but instead came down as first downs for the Panthers. Professional quarterbacks for at least two teams yesterday would have been happy to have had Tom Savage's line of 248 yards with 1TD and 1INT (the Titans had Kerry Collins and Vince Young combine for 2 of 14 with minus 7 yards and 2 interceptions; and the Jets' star rookie Mark Sanchez was 10 of 30 with 5 interceptions). It doesn't make these quarterbacks untalented or their coaches inept. They just had bad days (as I'm hoping the nattering nabobs of negativity quoted up above were having on a rainy Sunday with their favorite college and pro teams all losing). They were simply on the losing end of a game. It wasn't their day.

And the season isn't over. There's another game next week for all of these teams. Beat Army! (And shut up if I quoted you up above.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Too cool for you!"

I have a new favorite piece of clothing. It was one of the many layers that I was wearing at the Pittsburgh game on Friday night and invisible under my coat and poncho for most of the night, but when I was tossing the pigskin with my son in the parking lot a couple of hours before the game it was my outer layer. I asked him how he liked my new Chop Shop U hoodie and he said, "It's great, but it's too cool for you," in his none-too-subtle way of saying that he wanted it for himself.

I'm not sure if I'm ready to admit that anything could be too cool for me, but I do have to admit that there may be others on whom this garment might look better, so the picture I've enclosed here depicts a model from their website. All of the principals, designers, and models involved in Chop Shop U are young former Rutgers students from the classes of 2003-2006, the company is based in New Jersey, and they are interested in original designs and in giving back to Rutgers student organizations. I certainly feel much better supporting a company like this than padding the coffers of Nike or Adidas for another look-alike product. This is an officially-licensed product, but it has the feel of something that's almost handmade. Not just outerwear, I'm wearing it this soft cotton hoodie unzipped as I type this and the wind and rain howl outside my windows on this stormy Sunday.

Voluntarily following new FTC guidelines about bloggers and endorsements that haven't gone into effect yet, but which were published on October 5, I should say that I was contacted by Chop Shop U and I was given a sample for testing, but I would be making this endorsement without that incentive. I like this garment better than any of the many other things I own that include a Block R, and I can't wait to see what other fresh designs they come up with. If you have any interest check them out by clicking on this link to Chop Shop U (great name too).
ADDENDUM 10/20/09: Chop Shop U has sent me this direct discount link for readers of Beat Visitor.

The new Beat Visitor dot com BlogPoll ballot has been posted for your comments

I'm trying hard to get these BlogPoll ballots of mine posted before I've seen any others from the "major" polls or even from other individual voters. As always, you can click on the thumbnail to your right to see my handwritten notes about all the teams on this week's list, and see further justifications/rationalizations down below the list itself.
1Alabama 1
2Florida 1
5Iowa 2
6Southern Cal 1
7Boise State 1
8Miami (Florida) 2
9LSU 2
10TCU 2
11Oregon 2
12Georgia Tech 6
13Penn State 1
14Brigham Young 3
15Virginia Tech 9
17Ohio State 8
18Houston 4
19Oklahoma State 4
20Kansas 5
21South Florida 5
22Texas Tech
24West Virginia 1
25South Carolina 4
Last week's ballot

Dropped Out: Nebraska (#19), Oklahoma (#20), Auburn (#24).

I'm obviously disappointed that my Scarlet Knights didn't take the opportunity to beat the Pitt Panthers on Friday night and move into the top 25 (and believe me, I would have gladly moved the Knights up into this list if they had been able to score 8 more points in the 4th quarter), but I had no trouble moving Pitt into the heart of the rankings. Dion Lewis is going to have more big games between now and the end of the year and his team could easily run the table in the Big East and fulfill the preseason predictions of the Big East media poll. There wasn't enough evidence to drop either South Florida or West Virginia from my ballot, so for the first time this year I have four Big East schools on my list.
Only one of the 8 previously-unbeaten teams (South Florida) lost this week and the biggest upsets were those of Virginia Tech and Ohio State, so the changes are relatively minor. At least they are more minor than they would have been if Florida and/or Texas had lost -- both of which could have easily happened yesterday.
Nebraska and Oklahoma have both now dropped out of my ballot twice. If either of them enter the poll again they'd better be careful, because I'm thinking of instituting a three-time-loser rule. Drop out three times, and you'll have to wait until 2010 to see the lower reaches of my top 25 again.
As always, you can comment and try to convince me of my errors between now and Tuesday when this has to be finalized, but I'll assume, as always, that your silence is a sign that I've got it perfect once again.